Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995.
The National Assembly is located in the central part of Ankara. The institution's new mosque, positioned on the main axis of the complex at its outermost tip, is for the exclusive use of members of parliament, and ministerial and administrative staff. The mosque is composed of a triangular forecourt, and a rectangular prayer hall overlooking a large, triangular, terraced garden and pool. Of particular interest to the jury was the manner in which elements from traditional mosque architecture have been abstracted and fragmented. Instead of a full courtyard with porticoes, for example, the architects have cut the courtyard in half along a diagonal line connecting the southern and northern corners. Bordering the courtyard porticoes, and taking their place within the structural module, are column bases without shafts or capitals, intended as echoes of traditional sheltered promenades. Other consciously incomplete references to the past include the truncated minaret, and the stepped pyramidal roof in place of the expected dome. The qibla wall opens onto the terraced garden, and this unorthodox arrangement completely transforms the act of prayer. The customary orientation of the qibla wall and mihrab toward Mecca is maintained, but by conceiving these elements in glass, with a landscaped garden beyond, worshipers are brought closer to nature. By means of these design strategies, the mosque acknowledges its secular environment while enhancing the acts of prayer and devotion that are essential to Islam. The jury believes that this new centre for worship is an important step in the development of a suitable architectural vocabulary for the design of contemporary mosques.
Davidson, Cynthia and Ismail Serageldin, editors. Architecture Beyond Architecture. London: Academy Editions, 1995.
More that 1,600 projects have been examined and debated since the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was founded in 1977 with the intention of exploring the direction of architectural projects in Muslim societies and encouraging a high standard of design. In this sixth cycle of the Award, twelve projects are premiated. Each is vastly different from the others, and together they illustrate not only the diverse programs architecture is being asked to address in Third World countries today, but also the degree to which modernization, or what some may term 'westernization', is influencing the built environment of rapidly industrializing societies. Together these projects raise many questions: what is the role of the West in Muslim societies, or, for that matter, in developing society? What is the role of architecture in Muslim societies? What constitutes a definition of architecture in developing countries? Architecture beyond Architecture is the sixth in a series of books under the general title Building in the Islamic World Today.